By Espie Angelica A. de Leon
Though cash remains to be their most preferred mode of payment, Filipinos are now becoming more comfortable and confident about making cashless and contactless transactions, according to the latest Visa Consumer Payment Attitude Study for the Philippines.
The study was conducted in July 2017 with 500 survey participants across the country aged 18-51. The respondents had monthly incomes of P12,000 and above and had varying educational levels.
Stuart Tomlinson, Visa country manager for Philippines and Guam, presented the findings to members of local media at the Makati Shangri-la Hotel on July 26.
According to the study, 69 percent of those surveyed, or almost seven in 10, said they were confident about making cashless transactions for a day. Seventy percent said they had actually gone cashless for at least a few days. Meanwhile, 52 percent said they can go cashless for up to three days.
Convenience and safety were cited as the main reasons for opting to pay electronically.
The number of Filipino online shoppers jumped from 71 percent in 2016 to 92 percent in 2017, with 66 percent admitting to shopping online at least once a month. Year-on-year growth for online shopping was recorded at 30 percent while year on year growth for consumer spend was at 15 percent.
Topping the list of items or categories paid for electronically was utility bills or fines. Fifty-nine percent of those surveyed stated they pay their bills online. Next in the list is fashion with 43 percent followed by travel with 40 percent and beauty products at 36 percent.
Cashless transactions for on-demand services are also increasing. Fifty-five percent are using either mobile apps or websites to get a ride, 56 percent to order food, and 42 percent to stream content.
Convenience once again came out as one of the reasons for going cashless to avail these types of services. The other top reasons cited were comfort and the availability of more options.
In terms of banking transactions, the survey indicated that 65 percent check their bank accounts weekly using digital platforms. Fifty-one percent said that tapping digital platforms for their banking needs helps them to save time.
Moreover, 69 percent of survey participants signified their interest in using contactless payment tools rather than cash and 73 percent indicated they are willing to make contactless payments if these are made widely available.
With contactless payment technologies, individuals purchasing a product waive their cards or place their smartphones against a contactless terminal to complete the transaction.
Meanwhile, 58 percent expressed their wish for payments to be automated and another 58 percent also prefer establishments offering cashless payment options
As in last year?s study, it was also found that 42 percent prefer the Philippines to become a cashless society. On the other hand, 40 percent believe that a cashless society will be a reality within the next seven years.
?Technology has transformed the way consumers shop and pay for their purchases. Clearly, Filipinos are seeing the benefits of electronic payments in their lives, and this leads to a change in behavior where they become confident in leading a digital lifestyle,? said Tomlinson.